Strength Tree


Fat Burning

Home > Fitness

Man walking on Treadmill in Health Club

How to Maximize Fat Burning on a Treadmill

By Dr. Kristie

If you work out on a treadmill, you’re probably familiar with the treadmill settings that prompt you to select a cardiovascular or fat burning workout. Not surprisingly, some people are confused as to which option to choose. What’s the best choice if you’re trying to lose weight, but still want to challenge your heart?

What’s the Fat Burning Treadmill Setting?

When you choose a fat burning treadmill workout, the treadmill is programmed to deliver a low to moderate intensity workout to keep the heart rate between 60% and 70% of the maximum calculated heart rate for a person’s age. (maximum heart rate is age subtracted from 220).

This is the so-called fat burning zone where fat is used primarily as fuel - in contrast to higher intensity exercise where carbohydrates are the primary energy source.

What about the Cardiovascular or Aerobic Setting?

If you choose the aerobic treadmill setting, the treadmill should deliver a higher intensity workout to allow your heart rate to rise to at least 70% of your maximum calculated heart rate. (the upper limit for a fat burning workout). This setting maximizes benefits to the heart – but burns a less percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates.

Will You Lose More Weight on the Fat Burning Treadmill Setting?

Logically, the answer would be yes since you use more fat as fuel when you stay within the fat burning zone. On the other hand, a higher intensity workout burns more overall calories – even though you’re burning a lower percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates.

Because you’re expending more calories overall, you’ll burn more overall fat when you do a higher intensity, cardiovascular workout than if you stay in the fat burning zone. This is one reason high intensity workouts have become so popular. Overall, they lead to more total fat loss.

What’s the Overall Best Treadmill Setting?

If you want to maximize fat burning and still get the cardiovascular benefits, how intense should your treadmill workout be? A study published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research showed that keeping the heart rate between 60% and 80% of the maximum heart rate was the best compromise for burning fat and keeping the heart healthy.

At this level, you burn calories and fat without compromising cardiovascular benefits. Something to remember the next time you step on the treadmill. 

About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.


One-Per-Day Tablets, 60 tablets

One-Per-Day Multivitamin

Our 1 a day vitamins provide the essential nutrients the body needs. They beat Centrum Silver Adults 50+ in 10 ways: 50 times more vitamin B1, 25 times more vitamin B6...

Order Now >>



• Diet

• Exercise

• Nutrition

See All >>


• Home Air Quality

• Infectious Diseases

• Skin Conditions

Disclaimer: Articles not intended to Diagnose, Treat, Cure or Prevent Diseases.

Issues | Products | Testing | Search